Monday, April 22, 2013
MArooned Product Review: Kel-Tec SUB-2000
Yeah, this review is a little bit overdue. I've had the SUB-2000 for a while now, and I've really had a chance to put it through its paces. The scarcity of 9mm, though, has been the limiting factor - for the past five months I have not been able to find so much as one box. It's pretty ironic, in that one of the big reasons for choosing the 9mm variant is the (normally) easy availability of 9mm ammunition.
The SUB-2000 is immediately recognizable by the folding mechanism:
It's ingeniously simple - to open the SUB-2000, there's a sliding pin near the front sight that you pull to the rear. The carbine opens up in a couple seconds, it's really that simple. To close it, simply pull down the trigger guard (like taking down a Makarov) and it folds in half. Naturally, I had to pretend I was 007 and put it in a briefcase:
Okay, so it's not a briefcase, but you get the idea. That's case I normally use for transporting handguns, and the SUB-2000 fits even with the folding foregrip attached (that's a TFL from the Mako Group, for the curious; it arrived in a shipment with the TAL-4 grip I tested for my Shooting Illustrated article on foregrips last year). Rumors that, upon removing the SUB-2000 from the case and opening it up I was heard to exclaim, "G. Jay G. License to kill" are exaggerated...
The SUB-2000 is set up to take many common handgun magazines. The most common is the ubiquitous Glock 17, of course, as well as the 19; there's also a variant set up to take Smith & Wesson model 59 magazines (I would imagine because the P11 takes them as well) and also the Beretta 92. This particular model is set up for SIG SAUER P226 magazines, since I happen to own a P226 and quite a few pre-ban magazines for it. This allows for a great degree of customization as well as offering an excellent way to manage a pistol/carbine combination utilizing not just the same ammunition but even magazines, too.
The one adjustment I made to the SUB2000 was adding the railed forend, an accessory available from Kel-Tec, although there are other rails available (Oleg mentioned one that has a rotating section so you can still fold the SUB2000 with an optic attached. Sure wish I could remember who made it...). It attaches quickly and easily, although it could use a drop or two of Loctite, as it tends to work a little loose after a session at the range.
And speaking of the range, I was quite surprised by the performance of the SUB2000 at the range. On the pistol range at my gun club, even the 25 yard distance proved easy - only three rounds of out 15 outside of the inner 4" ring:
Yeah, at 50 feet it wasn't even a challenge - the rounds just go where you want them to. I brought the SUB2000 to Brad_in_MA's range where we put up a 10" steel plate on the 100 yard berm, and hitting that with the SUB2000 was shockingly easy - although, again, there's a slight delay between the [bang] and the [ting] that's unnerving (but certainly not the SUB2000's fault!). Even with the rudimentary sights - the front post is a clear plastic tab with a red tint; the rear sight is a small, simple peep sight. But hey, the proof is in the targets - rudimentary or not, the sights just work.
The trigger surprised me, in that it was pretty clean and smooth - my only other frame of reference for Kel-Tec triggers is my P3AT, which is, let me be charitable, less-than-pleasant. Recoil, since it's a pistol-caliber carbine, is quite manageable - keeping the SUB2000 on target even under rapid-fire shooting is very easy. It's light, works every time, and hits where you point it - basically, it does everything you want a pistol caliber carbine to do at a price that's quite reasonable (MSRP is $409).
Reliability is one area where the SUB-2000 really surprised me - in a good way. I've had good luck with my P3AT - aside from needing a little *push* to get the slide into battery once in a while, it has been very reliable with both FMJ and JHP ammunition. I fed the SUB-2000 a constant diet of bulk 115 grain FMJ and did not experience a single malfunction of any type; the only issues it had were with the Remington UMC 115 grain JHP bulk pack. Winchester White box FMJ, Remington FMJ, old Blazer Brass FMJ, Pierce FMJ; it fed every single FMJ round I put into it as well as the Federal Hi-Shoks.
In conclusion, I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by the SUB-2000. It handled well, shot great, worked perfectly with most ammo, and in general did everything you'd want a pistol caliber carbine to do. It's light, low-recoil, and handy - this is something you can leave in a trunk or behind a rear seat in a pick up and have over 50 rounds at the ready (most configurations have anywhere from 15 - 20 round magazines available). While I know the argument that all pistol calibers suck from a stopping standpoint, having 15 rounds that will go into a small circle even out to 25 yards is an argument with which it is hard to argue.
Kel-Tec SUB-2000: Just as much fun as an Uzi carbine at a quarter the cost...
That is all.